Domestic Animal BusinessesUnder the provisions of the Domestic Animal Act 1994 a domestic animal business is
- an animal shelter (welfare organisations such as the RSPCA and The Lost Dogs’ Home);
- a Council pound (operated by the Council or a contractor on behalf of Council);
- a pet shop (operated in a permanent location that must be open at least 5 days per week);
- a dog and/or cat breeding establishment (where there are three or more fertile females and animals are sold, and the proprietor is not a member of an Applicable Organisation. If the proprietor is a member or an applicable organisation where there are ten or more fertile females and animals are sold );
- a dog training establishment (where the business is run for profit); or
- an establishment that is rearing dogs or cats (where the business is run for profit); or
- an establishment boarding dogs or cats (where the business is run for profit to provide overnight, daycare or homecare boarding)
New versions of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 will commence on 1 January 2012. The changes received royal assent on 13 December 2011 in the Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farm Enforcement and Other Matters) Act 2011.
The legislative changes primarily address the issue of "illegal puppy farms" and the redefining of domestic animal businesses as those individuals who have 3 or more fertile female dogs or cats and sell their offspring, in accordance with the Coalition pre-election commitments.
A summary of the laws are as follows:
- Significantly increased penalties in relation to domestic animal businesses and cruelty.
- The definition of a breeding establishment has been changed requiring registration as a breeding domestic animal business, with a persons’ local council, if you have three or more fertile female dogs OR three or more fertile female cats AND you sell dogs or cats (whether you make a profit or not). This will not affect the number of desexed animals an owner may have. Exceptions are establishments who belong to an applicable breeding organisation. Breeders who belong to one of these organisations’ will be regarded as domestic animal businesses if they have 10 or more fertile female dogs or 10 or more fertile female cats.
Domestic Animal Businesses – Breeding and Rearing Establishments
- Community Foster Care Networks will be defined in the Act and they will be exempt from the requirements of becoming a domestic animal business, in recognition of the role they play in rehoming pets.
- To allow traceability of sellers of pets, it will be an offence to advertise the sale of a dog or cat unless the microchip identification number of the animal is included in the advertisement or notice. A registered domestic animal business may use its Council domestic animal business registration number as an alternative.
- Council and RSPCA Inspectors have been given the power to seize animals from non compliant and unregistered breeding premises and issue infringement notices in relation to breeding premises.
- Animals seized from a breeding domestic animal business will be forfeited and re-homed or given away to shelters or community foster care networks, and will only be destroyed under certification from a veterinary practitioner on humane grounds.
- New powers to allow for a court to ban or impose conditions on the ownership of dogs or cats or the operating or working in a domestic animal business or for the recovery of costs from owners to cover care and maintenance of animals seized.
- The legislation has created an “Animal Welfare Fund” allowing certain organisations to apply for funding from the Minister.
New Definitions for Foster Care
NEW Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds (Revision 1)
As of 30th June 2011 the Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds (Revision 1) is now available.
Requirements for Domestic Animal Businesses
Breeding and Rearing Establishments